Alright, here is the setting. A cold, third-string back-up goalie and a defensive corps decimated by injuries.
These are things on paper, that look to give the Flyers an advantage. But you, my friend, have to understand, this is the Philadelphia Flyers we’re talking about. The same team that can turn a back up goalie into a perfect reincarnation of Dominik Hašek. That is exactly what they did in this game, losing to the Winnipeg Jets 3-2.
The team looked flat from the get go in Winnipeg. They never put themselves in a position to win this game, a game in which they held the lead for a total of three minutes. Standing in the crease tonight for Winnipeg was goaltender Michael Hutchinson who has started a total of three games in the span of two months. The Flyers did not challenge Hutchinson much through the first two periods, mustering 14 shots through two periods of play.
Something magical did happen within the first seven minutes. The Philadelphia Flyers ... KILLED A PENALTY. Killing off penalties has not come easy to the team of late, or really over the last three years. The Flyers currently have the eighth-worst penalty kill in the NHL and did themselves no favors this game. Racking up 18 penalty minutes over the span of the game, the Flyers gave the Jets six power play chances, including a four-minute power play. Fortunately nobody told the Jets how bad the Flyers’ PK really is and they only scored once on the six chances.
Jordan Weal scored the fourth goal of his career with Wayne Simmonds doing most of the work. Hutchinson decided it was a good idea to lay down and take a nap but Wayne Simmonds was nice enough to wait for him to wake up. But the moment Hutchinson was up on his skates, Wayne threw a crisp pass to Jordan Weal who buried the puck.
The Flyers, unsure what to do with an actual lead, had to screw it up somehow. So, Nick Schultz threw the puck over the glass giving a souvenir to a fan. What a nice guy. It also gave the Jets a subsequent power play, which they scored on.
But that was not enough! The Flyers were feeling extra-giving tonight and Ivan Provorov slashed Mark Stuart to the face, giving the Jets their four-minute powerplay. But as we mentioned above, the Jets did not capitalize on this.
The game was tied at one goal a piece going into the third period, and while the Jets looked like the stronger team through two periods a win was still within the Flyers grasp. But again, this is the Philadelphia Flyers we’re talking about. How many times has the team gone into the third period, with a win within reach and fell flat?
Well, pretty much every time, and that is exactly what they did tonight. Blake Wheeler scored midway through the third period. Not time to panic ... yet. Shortly thereafter, Adam Lowry tried to fight Radko Gudas and ended up taking an extra penalty.
Here we are, the Flyers down by one with half a period to play. So of course they manage to attain one measly shot on the power play. To add insult to injury Mark Scheifele scored giving the Jets a 3-1 lead minutes later.
Somehow, the Flyers remembered how to play hockey within the last five minutes of the period. They were not able to put any pucks into the net, until Matt Read deflected a Michael Del Zotto point shot with a total of one seconds remaining in the game. It’s something.
Overall, the Flyers never showed up to this game and odds are it would not have been much different if the team stayed in their hotel room all night. Road games have been the Flyers’ kryptonite this year, as they’ve gone 12-20-4 away from home. And guess what! They’re back at it on the road this Thursday in Minnesota.